Cleveland Robinson Jr.

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"I did it my way" best describes Cleveland, OH, native Cleveland Robinson Jr. who recorded a slew of singles on his own Nosnibor records in the '60s. (Nosnibor is Robinson spelled backwards.) None of…
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"I did it my way" best describes Cleveland, OH, native Cleveland Robinson Jr. who recorded a slew of singles on his own Nosnibor records in the '60s. (Nosnibor is Robinson spelled backwards.) None of Robinson's recordings were even remotely successful, after feeble attempts at promotion copies languished in the garage of his home at 12428 St. Clair Avenue, the home of Nosnibor; the address appeared on every single. With seven kids, Robinson couldn't concentrate solely on music, he needed steady income. He got offers from majors but declined because of skepticism; so he kept releasing his own stuff, published the songs, made demos at home, and sweetened the tracks at Schneider's Recording Studios in downtown Cleveland.

Cleveland jocks rarely gave Robinson's records more than a few spins. He did make some appearances on the local Gene Carroll television show and a had a few articles in Cleveland papers, however. Payola, gifts to jocks, an a willingness to appear free at DJ promo and hops was the norm, but Robinson didn't participate in any of that. Nor did he gig much, if any, except maybe private clubs and affairs, but none of the local show bars. In his seventies now, Robinson doesn't do interviews. When some Brits wanted to fly him to England for an interview, he sent a son, Paris, instead.

Obscurity and rareness have made his recordings wanted items with some, especially "Love Is a Trap," Initially it was issued on Nosnibor, but it somehow wound up on Alley Cat Records. If not destroyed, Robinson probably still has boxes of his recordings because he didn't sell many. One son, Cleveland III, remembers so many cartons of 45s in the family garage that you couldn't put the car inside.

Some of Robinson's recordings include "Loving Man" b/w "Let It Be Me," "If I Had a Hammer" b/w "This Is America," "Understanding" b/w "Jungle Dollar," "Loaf of Bread" b/w "Loch Lomond," "Boy" b/w "Let It Be Me," "My Place in the World," and "Mr. Wishing Well." He released an album, Cleveland, on Nosnibor (NLP 1723). "Boy" is featured on Goldmine's For Millionaire's Only, Vol. 4 and "Love Is a Trap" on Cream of the Crop, Volume 10, a good bootleg if you can find it.